Sunday, May 28, 2006
Faster than the speed of fur
Willem has a classmate who lives near us, named Sue, and she is the proud caretaker of four cats. Well, three for sure - the last one might be imaginary. Sue and her partner went away on vacation, and Willem agree to catsit in their absence. It's been kind of a fun addition to our days.

Each morning, at some point before noon, Willem gets a panicked look on his face and exclaims, "I forgot to feed the cats!" But the Detailed Instructions Sheet left by Sue only specifies "in the morning," so he hasn't, technically, been late for it. He goes over, and three of the four cats are waiting at the door, tapping their little cat feet and looking haughty - impatient but, in typical cat fashion, unwilling to admit that they didn't actually plan it to happen just this way all along.

According to the Detailed Instructions Sheet, there is a fourth cat. But the Detailed Instructions Sheet insists that she'll probably stay in hiding the whole time, so either she has, or she doesn't actually exist. I'm okay with either option, as long as Sue's okay with it. Nothing wrong with an imaginary cat now and then.

One of the visible cats, Dusty, is severely asthmatic. Somehow the idea of a cat who is allergic to cats just tickles me to no end.

Last night, the kids and I stayed in the car while Willem opened the door to let the cats back in - normally they can stay out overnight, per the Detailed Instructions Sheet, but tut tut, it looked like rain, and we just didn't have the heart to let Sue come home to a wet cat. So we were all waiting ever-so-patiently, watching the side yard, when one of the cats ran at a full-out feline sprint to get into the house. This was hilarious to all of us - even Jacob looked in time to see it. So the rest of the drive home was characterized by such images as the cat leaving a little cat-shaped hole in the door due to its haste, then arriving in the living room naked and having all its fur catch up a few seconds later. High humor for the 6-and-under set. And, okay, fine, it was funny to the over-25 set, too.

Tonight was my turn to let the cats out in the evening. The key is tricky. To get the door open, you have to fumble with it for a full five minutes, then say the secret magical words: "Well, I guess the cats won't be able to go out tonight," and *snick* the door will open like magic. Both of the outdoor cats (per the Detailed Instruction Sheet, only multicolored cats are allowed outside - I'm not sure what created the policy, but the solid color ones need a better political rallying group of they expect to make real changes in the policy) squeezed through a barely cat-width opening between the house door and the screen door, while I did my best to account for a minimum of two colors per cat before they went off to their Very Important Cat Meeting.

All in all, a fun experience. And a good reminder that cats ain't as graceful and put-together as they want you to think.